Halloween is in a few days, and for some us, it is the most tempting holiday to break diet guidelines. I love candy corn, chocolate and peanut butter, caramel apples and cider mill sugar donuts. The last few Halloweens I have worked on ways to treat myself once in awhile rather than sitting on the floor with my kids in a sugar coma. You don’t have to deprive yourself an occasional piece of candy here and there; just don’t let it derail the diet you’ve worked so hard to maintain over the past year.
Wondering how many calories are in those cute little candy corns? Twenty corns equal 150 calories so be conscious of how many you are grabbing at a time.
Choose wisely. It’s okay to enjoy a little Halloween candy, just be certain to do so carefully and select candy that is not 100% fat or sugar. Chocolate in very small portions will not sabotage your diet but it may not always be the best option to choose from the Halloween loot. Be selective and only choose a piece or two of candy that is your favorite.
Buy your stash later in the month. Even though Halloween candy displays go up almost right after Labor Day, you will have to pretend not to notice them when you’re shopping at the grocery store. Plan on buying the candy you’ll give out to trick-or-treaters just a few days in advance of Halloween. This way, the candy won’t be hanging around the house for too long and tempting you to eat it. I usually go on the day of Halloween and there is always candy, the stores know to overstock.
Buy candy that won’t tempt you. If you absolutely love milk chocolate then you should probably consider buying fruity candy to pass out instead. You’ll be less inclined to sneak a piece out of the candy bowl in between trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.
Consider a non-candy alternative. Assume that all your neighbors are passing out candy. Consider passing out low-sodium pretzels or organic granola bars. Even if the kids reject them, they most certainly have a parent who will appreciate snacking on this health-conscious Halloween treat. Pencils and stickers are also two other safe and useful suggestions.
Leave no trace. If your overestimate the amount of visitors you’ll receive on your doorstep on Halloween night, don’t hold on to the candy! Start passing out two pieces of candy at a time to deplete your resources so that you won’t be left with too much candy once trick-or-treaters stop arriving. Keeping leftover candy around the house could negatively impact the success of your diet. Donate extra treats to a local charity, the troops, or doctor’s office to get the excess sweets off your hands.
Treat your body to some exercise. Join your kids for a walk around the neighborhood as they trick-or-treat; it’s a perfect way to get exercise and also socialize with other parents. And be sure to have a satisfying meal before doing so to avoid craving candy from your toddler. This is also a good suggestion if you plan to attend any Halloween-themed parties during October. By loading up on a healthy meal beforehand, there will be no reason to hover over the candy bowl.
Halloween can be a fun time even if you’re trying to be conscious about your diet.
Sarah Kuretzy, MA, CPT, CHHC